Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Enter the Song

"Gather us in, the proud and the strong; Give us a heart so meek and so lowly, Give us the courage to enter the song."

-From the hymn, Gather Us In, by Marty Haugen

In my first summer of the Remick Leadership Program, I was coerced into being a cantor for the Responsorial Psalm at one of the weekday masses for RLP participants. I was sitting behind a Nashville Dominican, Sr. Anna Laura, at Mass and afterwards she turned around and said, “You have a beautiful voice. You should cantor sometime,” to which I replied,

“And you must be tone deaf, because I cannot sing.”

Sr. Anna Laura continued to urge me and I continued to resist. We went back and forth for some time. I thought her persistence had subsided after not hearing about it for the next few days, until she came to me and told me that I would be cantoring at the next RLP mass. After more back and forth, I finally conceded on only one condition: that she would do it with me.

Before Mass I was terrified. There are few things in my life that have made me more nervous. My heart was both pounding and racing. I felt dizzy. I have absolutely no recollection of the first reading. I’m not sure how I got up to the ambo. For all I know, Sr. Anna Laura dragged me up there. But once there, I took a deep breath, uttered a small prayer and, along with Sr. Anna Laura, I entered the song.

While I can’t say that I did well, I made it through the entire Responsorial Psalm and I lived to talk about it.

I had the courage to enter the song...and sing.

Much like Sr. Anna Laura did during my first summer of RLP, God has given all of us an invitation to sing through the ministry of Catholic education. He has scripted the notes. He has composed the score. And He has called us, despite any inadequacies that we may feel, to enter the song and to sing.

St. Paul urges the Ephesians (4:1-7) to:

“Live in a manner worthy of your call," a call to greatness together with others.

It’s not for us to second guess our abilities or to shrink from tasks we think may be above our capacity.

St. Paul encourages the Ephesians by reminding them that “grace was given to each of us
according to the measure of Christ's gift.”

Live in a manner worthy of your call. Live in a way that honors the God-sized visions that He has planted inside of your heart. Enter the song and sing and trust that grace has been given you according to the measure of Christ’s gift for your life.

Have you ever thought of your call - your ministry - your song within Catholic education as a gift?

That’s how Christ views it, because His gift to you will be your gift to the world and your gift back to Him.

Accept this gift and live in a manner worthy of it.

Enter the song, invite others to join you in the greatness for which you have been called, and sing.